The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 17
I go to Surgeons' Hall, when I meet Mr. Jackson-am examined--a fierce dispute arises
between two of the examiners--Jackson disguises himself to attract respect--irises
himself to attract respect--is detected--in hazard of being sent to Bridewell--he treats us
at a Tavern--carries us to a Night-house--A troublesome adventure there--we are
committed to the Round-house--carried before a Justice--his behaviour
With the assistance of this faithful adherent, who gave me almost all the money he
earned, I preserved my half-guinea entire till the day of examination, when I went with a
quaking heart to Surgeons' Hall, in order to undergo that ceremony. Among a crowd of
young fellows who walked in the outward hall, I perceived Mr. Jackson, to whom I
immediately went up; and, inquiring into the state of his love affair, understood it was
still undetermined, by reason of his friend's absence, and the delay of the recall at
Chatham, which put it out of his power to bring it to a conclusion. I then asked what his
business was in this place; he replied, he was resolved to have two strings to his bow,
that in case the one failed, he might use the other; and, with this view, he was to pass
that night for a higher qualification. At that instant, a young fellow came out from the
place of examination, with a pale countenance, his lip quivering, and his looks as wild
as if he had seen a ghost. He no sooner appeared, than we all flocked about him with
the utmost eagerness to know what reception he had met with; which, after some
pause, he described, recounting all the questions they had asked, with the answers he
made. In this manner we obliged no less than twelve to recapitulate, which, now the
danger was past, they did with pleasure, before it fell to my lot: at length the beadle
called my name, with a voice that made me tremble. However, there was no remedy. I
was conducted into a large hall, where I saw about a dozen of grim faces sitting at a
long table: one of whom bade me come forward, in such an imperious tone, that I was
actually for a minute or two bereft of my senses. The first question he put to me was,
"Where was you born?" To which I answered, "In Scotland." "In Scotland," said he; "I
know that very well--we have scarce any other countrymen to examine here--you
Scotchmen have overspread us of late as the locusts did Egypt. I ask you in what part
of Scotland was you born?" I named the place of my nativity, which he had never heard
of; he then proceeded to interrogate me about my age, the town where I served my
time, with the term of my apprenticeship; and when I informed him that I served three
years only, he fell into a violent passion, swore it was a shame and a scandal to send
such raw boys into the world as surgeons; that it was great presumption in me, and all
affront upon the English, to pretend sufficient skill in my business, having served so
short a time, when every apprentice in England was bound seven years at least: that my
friends would have done better if they had made me a weaver or shoemaker; but their
pride would have me a gentleman, he supposed, at any rate, and their poverty could not
afford the necessary education. This exordium did not at all contribute to the recovery of
my spirits; but on the contrary, reduced me to such a situation that I was scarcely able
to stand; which being perceived by a plump gentleman who sat opposite to me with a
skull before him, he said, Mr. Snarler was too severe upon the young man; and, turning